Painted Dreams is an American radio soap opera which premiered on WGN radio, Chicago, on October 20, 1930 and last aired in July 1943. It is widely considered by scholars of the genre to be the first daytime soap opera or drama-by-installment serial. The first to be broadcast in daytime over a radio network would be Clara, Lu 'n Em, two years later.
|Country of origin||United States|
|Created by||Irna Phillips|
|Written by||Irna Phillips|
|Original release||1930 – 1943|
Phillips wrote and acted in the show until 1932 when she asked WGN to sell the show to a national broadcaster. When they refused, Phillips sued, claiming the show was her property. The dispute was finally settled in 1938, and the show was acquired by CBS. Meanwhile, Phillips had left WGN in 1932, creating Today's Children for rival station WMAQ with virtually the same plot premises and characters.
Phillips' storyline followed the relationship of Irish-American widow Mother Moynihan and her unmarried daughter. Listeners in 1931 heard this dialogue in episode 25:
- (Kitchen: Irene and Sue arguing. Mrs. Moynihan preparing breakfast.)
- IRENE: I tell you, Sue, it won’t work. I’ve never worn that shade of orchid in all my life. I’d look like a perfect washout. Besides, that’s your very best special occasion dress. I wouldn’t think of taking it.
- SUE: Don’t be silly. A wedding is a special occasion, isn’t it? And as long as I won’t need to wear it, you might just as well. If you’re a bridesmaid, you’ve got to look the part, kid.
- IRENE: But I don’t look good in that color. I’d look faded or something.
- SUE: Cracked ice! You can’t tell. You’ve never had it on. Gee, with gold slippers and a gold turban hat, you’d be a wow! Wouldn’t she, Mrs. Moynihan?
- MRS.: Won't you be wearing it, Sue?
- SUE: Why no; there's no reasons for my dressing up. I'm not in the wedding party. And I think that it would be just right for Irene, if there were a few tucks taken in around the waist. Anyway, it would save her from buying a dress.
- IRENE: Well, who says I don't want to buy a dress? It's about time I was getting a new formal, anyhow. I haven't got a rag that's fit to be seen.
Phillips occasionally played the lead of Mother Moynihan, as did Bess Flynn, who was a member of the show's writing team. Flynn, born August 18, 1899 in Tama, Iowa, went on to script three other soap operas: We, the Abbotts, Bachelor's Children and Martha Webster (originally titled Life Begins). In addition to performing the title role on Martha Webster, she also portrayed the annoying maid Tilda on The Gumps.
- Cox, Jim (2003). Frank and Anne Hummert's radio factory: the programs and personalities of broadcasting's most prolific producers. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786416318.
- Cox, Jim (2005-11-15). Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6523-5.
- Allen, Robert C. Speaking of Soap Operas. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. (Wisconsin Historical Society: Irna Phillips Collection.) ISBN 0-8078-4129-3